Walnuts…a little Brain in a shell!

I have always found the structure of walnuts to be so fascinating and fun. I often reflect on the Doctrine of Signatures”, an age-old concept that states that herbs and plants that resemble certain body parts, have benefit to those very parts.  In fact, botanist William Coles(1626–1662) supposed that God had made ‘Herbes for the use of men, and hath given them particular Signatures, whereby a man may read … the use of them.” And in his The Art of Simpling and Adam in Eden, he stated that walnuts were good for curing head ailments because in his opinion, “they Have the perfect Signatures of the Head”.

So here we are nearly 400 years later, totally enjoying walnuts and reveling in the goodness that they do in fact impart for our bodies…and brains! They have long been considered as ‘brain food’ and a symbol of intelligence, leading to the belief that they actually increase one’s intellect. While this may not be exactly true, recent studies have proven that the consumption of walnuts does help in promoting brain function, and so much more.

In a nut shell they provide:

  • Reduced risk of coronary heart disease 
  • Improved Brain health and function
  • Enhanced Mood
  • Lowered total Cholesterol
  • Lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Lowered ratio of LDL to HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Prevention of Inflammation
  • Improved Metabolism
  • Balanced body health and weight
  • Control of Diabetes

While the health benefits of walnuts were first identified in 1937 when researchers discovered that they were a significant source of vitamin C, numerous other studies have now clearly established that eating walnuts on a regular basis has definite health benefits, most significantly, a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease.

Health, nicely packaged in a shell:

  • Excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids (ALA)
  • Rich in phytonutrients 
  • Excellent source of Vitamins & Minerals;
    • Vitamin C
    • Selenium
    • Phosphorous
    • Magnesium
    • Potassium
    • Zinc
    • Iron
    • Calcium
    • B vitamins: B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folate
    • Vitamin-E 

Interestingly, Just 35 grams of unrefined, fresh, uncooked walnut oil provides the same benefits as 50 grams of walnuts.

Walnuts have a delicious taste and crunchy texture. You will love them in cookies, cakes, granola, cereals, and, of course, banana walnut bread. Ground walnuts and flour are also used for baking and the oil, and it’s rich, nutty flavor, is excellent in salad dressings and bastings for grilled foods, brushed on just before serving to avoid the slight bitterness that heating can impart in the oil.

Walnuts are 65% fat by weight and 15% protein and are richer than most nuts in polyunsaturated fats with a relatively high amount of omega-3 fatty acid, ALA. Eating just 1.5 ounces/day with your meals or snacks is a wonderfully balanced way to bring these little brains into your life!

Go ahead! Crack one open and enJoy it right now

Peace & Blessings,   Dr. Patricia

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